• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Social theory is a core area in Sociology degrees. This book attempts to lead students through the key thinkers and key ideas. The organizational principle is to focus on theoretical writing which is relevant for understanding the contemporary world. So the book asks what continuing use do theories of the Enligthenment, classical German sociology, Marxism and phenomenology have for making sense of our social world.

Cultural Turn: Social Theory in France and Britain
Cultural turn: Social theory in france and britain

Under the double jeopardy of post-modern culture and neoliberal political economy, much social theory in the decades since the 1970s viewed the social world as increasingly emaciated and broken. In this perspective individuals appear to be increasingly closed off from each other in little privatised universes. As public culture atrophies, political cynicism becomes all-pervasive. This picture has been especially noticeable as the role of language and culture acquired greater significance in social theory than structured social relations and historical processes. Part of the context for this ‘turn to culture’ is widespread concern about the cultural and political effects of fragmentation, fluidity, speed, superficiality, identity, and contingency.

This chapter considers social ...

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